Sun Life (Hong Kong) has hired Stanley Ngan from UBS Wealth Management as head of asset management for its pensions business in what is a newly created role, AsianInvestor can confirm.

Ngan, who was Asia-Pacific head of fund selection and analysis at UBS Wealth Management, arrived at Sun Life in Hong Kong on April 16. He reports to Belinda Luk, the firm’s head of pensions and group business.

He has a mandate to strengthen the product offering and general attractiveness of Sun Life’s Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) scheme, in terms of performance, fees and market appeal. He also has a hiring mandate and will be looking to add investment expertise and product construction capabilities, primarily based in Hong Kong.

At present the life insurer has one MPF scheme comprising 14 constituent funds, featuring underlying managers First State Investments, Invesco and RCM. Altogether it has HK$16 billion ($2 billion) in assets under management in the scheme.

Luk tells AsianInvestor that Sun Life has been one of the largest beneficiaries of the introduction of Employee Choice Arrangement (ECA) in the MPF system, and as a result has seen its MPF scheme do well.

“That has prompted us to begin thinking of the way to go forward,” says Luk. “We have to think of ways to strengthen our product offering by continuing to introduce good-performing funds in one form or another.”

She admits that this is an area where Sun Life is a little thin right now in terms of expertise. “We have been trying to search for someone with prior experience who can help us advance into the wealth management arena,” Luk adds.

If Ngan is successful in improving the attractiveness of Sun Life’s MPF products, he will be asked to spread his wings to other wealth management products that Sun Life will have to offer, although Luk declines to reveal what these might be.

Ngan had worked at UBS Wealth Management since May 2007, when he was hired to build a fund research team for Asia-Pacific. His scope of responsibility was subsequently expanded to include front-to-back management of the fund platform.

Before joining UBS, Ngan was a senior investment manager at HSBC Investments responsible for the management of all its multi-manager portfolios. He has also worked as an investment manager at Hang Seng Investment Management running funds-of-funds.

A spokesman for UBS in Hong Kong confirms Ngan’s departure but declines to comment further. It is understood that UBS Wealth Management will seek to replace Ngan.